Photo from flickr user Mr. Ducke

On August 15,  the Catholic church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption, a day recognizing the Virgin Mary’s completion of her early life and “was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII, 1950).  As we reflect on her transition into heaven, we remember that we are called to live out God’s word on Earth here and now.

Since July 2010, Missioners Tim and Cecilia Marcy have been living out that calling in South Africa where Queen Mary Assumed into Heaven is the patron saint of the Church. 

In 1952, when the Oblates of Mary Immaculate arrived in South Africa for a Marian congress, Archbishop Martin H. Lucas SVD, named the popular saint patroness of the country because of the nation’s numerous shrines which attract devoted pilgrims.

One of these, the Ngome Marian Shrine was erected in 1966 after Sr. Reinolda May had several encounters with the Blessed Mother, the first of which she appeared holding the sacred host saying, “I am the Tabernacle of the Most High… I wish that more such Tabernacles be prepared.  I mean human hearts.” The Blessed Mother designated “where the seven springs come together” as the spot for a shrine to be built.  Today the shrine is a place of healing.

Please join us in celebrating today’s Feast of the Assumption by praying for Tim and Cecilia and all missioners, especially those in South Africa, as they live out their call to service, to be living Tabernacles, to others.

 Holy Mary, Mother of God, Protectress of Africa, 
you have given to the world the true light, Jesus Christ. 
 Through your obedience to the Father and the grace of the Holy Spirit,
you have given us the source of our reconciliation and our justice, 
Jesus Christ, our peace and our joy. 
Mother of tenderness and wisdom, show us Jesus, your Son of God. 
Guide our path of conversion, 
so that Jesus might shine his glory on us in every aspect of our personal, familiar and social lives. 
Mother, full of mercy and justice, 
 through your docility to the Spirit, the Counselor,
obtain for us the grace to be witnesses of the risen Lord, 
so that we will increasingly become the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Mother of Perpetual Help, 
we entrust to your maternal intercession
the preparation and fruits of the Second Special Assembly for Africa. 
Queen of Peace, pray for us! 
Our Lady of Africa, pray for us!
(Instrumentum Laboris – The Church in Africa in service to reconciliation, justice & peace – Synod of Bishops 2nd Special Assembly for Africa)